Morgan Out Island Structural Integrity? - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 07-10-2008
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Post Morgan Out Island Structural Integrity?

So I was considering buying a Morgan OI 33 or 36 for my next boat, but then I ran across some people who said that the open, airy layout causes structural unreliability. The little bit of twisting from the keel, mast, rudder etc. causes the boat to "loosen up" and leak, they claim. Is that claim grounded? Will the Morgans fall apart because of the weak hull and/ordeck?

Thanks!
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Old 07-10-2008
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Hi Wankel,

I don't have any personal experience with the OIs, however I do love the amount of room they have, even if they're not the best sailing vessel. Anyway here is Jack Hornor's take on the 41 OI. His reviews are usually pretty good to go by.

insert "www" here ___ boatus.com/jackhornor/sail/OutIsland41.asp
Happy hunting!
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Old 07-10-2008
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I have a 1973 Morgan OutIsland 36....so that makes it 35 years old. It hasn't fallen apart yet, but yes the deck to hull joint did leak. I fixed it, just like I fix any other leaks, such as the stanchions. Many boats leak, the Morgans are not bullet proof or leak proof, but many are very solid and good boats.

Depends on where you want to sail. I'm told it's not a great blue water boat, but great for off shore cruising. They are not fast and they are heavy. I really don't have any complaints. Everybody has an opinion.
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Old 07-10-2008
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While the review is for an OI 41, I doubt the construction on the smaller OIs is much different. From the Horner review.

Quote:
Structurally, the Out Island 41 is a very sound boat and even at its advanced age, it is very rare to find any significant structural problems with these boats. Older Out Island 41's had the hull to deck joint well down on the top sides of the vessel where it was vulnerable to dockside damage as well as damage from travel lift slings. In 1975, the hull to deck joint was repositioned at the sheer deck edge, a more traditional and stronger method of construction. Polyethylene waste tanks and water tanks used aboard these vessels were subject to failure. Replacements were complicated by the fact that the tanks were set in place before the deck was put on and replacement of comparably sized tanks is nearly impossible without major structural renovation. The solution, in many cases, has been to replace larger single tanks with several smaller tanks.

From early on, the Out Island 41 has had a reputation for mediocre sailing performance which is likely justified. When introduced in 1972, the design specifications of this boat indicated displacement of 24,000 pounds and sail area of 683 square feet. This represents a sail area displacement ratio of 13.1. This is on the optimistic side. More than likely the full load cruising displacement of the boat was in the range of 27,000 pounds rather than the designed displacement of 24,000. By 1981, Morgan literature reflects a more realistic displacement of 27,000 pounds. The sail area of the vessel had increased to 775 sq. ft. with the addition of a higher aspect sail plan. The Out Island 41 was also available with an optional ketch rig and a few boats were built with optional centerboards. Generally I find the performance of the Out Island 41 acceptable from close to broad reaching but disappointing sailing to windward or going dead down wind in light to moderate winds.
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thanks! that's what I needed.
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Not to rain on the OI parade, but here is the other side of the coin taken from Boat Review by David Pascoe - Morgan 462 Ketch

Morgan is famous for producing some of the most badly blistered boats we've ever seen, as well as the junky, but immensely popular Out Island 41. In fact, the O/I 41 is one of only two hulls we've ever seen that had been destroyed by blisters, the other being a Chris Craft Commander.

Now this guy, David Pacoe, seems to be more of a powerboat guy, so maybe he's just xxxxx on this sailboat. If you look at all the reviews he has posted on his website, I'd say 95% are powerboats.

So what's the morale of this story? I guess be sure to look closely for badly blistered hulls on the OIs.
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I couldn't leave on a sour note with my last post so here's a better one.

I would put a lot more stock into what Bob Perry writes in his review than that previous review...

Check this out.

Boats.com - Boat Review/Test: Perry Design Review: Morgan 41
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Ippa2,

A comment, if I might. Virtually all of the boats of that era had blister problems. Morgans, Ericksons, Rangers, Islanders, Columbias, Cals, Catalinas--all of them. That was because no one knew that something as hard as resin and glass could absorb water.

Most boats of that era that are still around have been fixed. If they haven't, they've been ground up into chunks and are filling a landfill somewhere.

I'll say this about Charley Morgan's boats: they are built like brick outhouses. My old Morgan 36T racer is nearly 3 inches thick in places. The OutIslands were built with charter in mind. That means they had to be able to challenge a coral head and not just win, but win and get the boat home. They did that quite well. I defy you to take one of the new computer designed boats and run it into a coral head and expect the boat to survive.

Charley told me his philosophy was "If you can get her there, my boat will bring you home." I believe it, and the number of OI's still out there must mean something.
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O.I. 36 - 1Tough Hull

About a year ago I purchased an 73 O.I. 36 that had been setting at it's mooring for a year or so with little attention. A year or so before I bought it Windwalker had broken away during a night and made it out of the harbor and over a coral reef. The marine police found it several miles at sea and towed it back. The hull had some dings and scratches but little serious damage. It was likely a high tide and favorable winds but I don't think many boats could survive that trip.
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Old 01-23-2010
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I've been living aboard and cruising on Morgan Out Islands since 1973. My '73 ketch developed no more than 12 to 15 nickel sized blisters and one half dollar sized by the late eighties, but none in the last twenty years. I did have some delamination of the rudder that I repaired in 2001; about six square feet total of deck soft spots in three different locations repaired. I do tend to resealing my rub rail at the hull-deck joint about every two or three years. I have replaced the rubber portlight gaskets when they were about 35 years old. I'm currently removing & refinishing my chainplates, but they all appear to be sound, but one that exhibited a stress crack. I was in Maine this past summer and we're leaving Florida for the Bahamas in March. I actively cruise and actively maintain. If I were disappointed in my Morgan OI, I would not have kept it for so long. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew

Last edited by CaptainForce; 01-23-2010 at 07:45 PM.
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